Tuesday night, the Mets received the news that free-agent centerfielder Michael Bourn, whom they had pursued for weeks, had signed with the Indians. On Wednesday, general manager Sandy Alderson expressed "some disappointment," but in the end, he said, a couple factors blocked the Mets' pursuit.
Alderson said the Mets were willing to give Bourn, 30, a four-year contract similar to the one he ultimately signed with Cleveland. The difference was the fifth-year vesting option Cleveland offered if Bourn reaches 550 plate appearances in 2016, the fourth year of the deal. Alderson refused to present a contract with such an attainable option available.
"We viewed [it] as a fifth year in the contract at the levels we were talking about or that they were talking about," Alderson said. "And we weren't prepared to go to 5 years and they had known that for some time so the vest was a big issue for us."
Secondly, the situation was complicated by the prospect of the Mets having to surrender the 11th pick in June's draft as compensation. The Mets finished with the 10th-worst record in the majors, but were bumped down a spot in the draft because the Pirates didn't sign their first-round selection last season and were given the ninth pick this year. Therefore, the pick is no longer protected.
The Mets would've had to approach Major League Baseball for a change to the interpretation of the rule. Alderson believes the spirit of the rule is that the 10 worst teams should have their first-round pick protected.
"I think early on we felt that not only that we had a good case, but also that MLB might be amenable to a reinterpretation of that rule," Alderson said. "That turned out not to be case later on."
Mets' Sandy Alderson says Mets refused to offer Michael Bourn fifth-year option
Newark Star-Ledger | Feb 14